Picks: 6, 17
Needs: To choose a direction. Rajon Rondo becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2015, and to retain him, the Celtics probably need to improve next season. If they draft an unrefined (or injured) prospect – which could be the prudent move – it might contribute to Rondo leaving. That has to be considered, and Thursday is time for Boston to chart its course, one way or another
Trade possibilities: The Celtics are in the Kevin Love race, and no matter how the Timberwolves posture, that could still get resolved on draft night. Even if it doesn’t, Danny Ainge is a wheeler-and-dealer. Boston has held such a high draft pick just once in the last 18 years – and it was traded for a veteran Ray Allen. That – along with adding Kevin Garnett – led to a championship the next season. It’s human nature for Ainge to try to repeat his own success.
Predictions: If Joel Embiid is on the board at No. 6, I can’t see him sliding past the Celtics. But I think Embiid will be gone and Aaron Gordon will become the pick. There will be good prospects available at No. 17. How about Zach Lavine? Gordon and Lavine would give Boston an incredible amount of upside, though early rough patches might send Rondo out the door. Then again, Lavine and Rondo share an agent, so maybe drafting one of Billy Duffy’s clients could help hold everything together.